Thursday morning, we would make our pilgrimage to the most-high of American street-motorcycle roads, Beartooth Pass. The weather was good, and we made our ascent early. The pass has expansive views of the surrounding mountains, the Beartooth and a multitude of other mountain ranges. Our journey started at an elevation of ~6,200 feet, and peaked at 10,948 feet at the pass summit. We took this road slowly, not because of difficult conditions, but because it was a beautiful morning, and the views were breathtaking.
The three of us stopped at the summit for the obligatory photo next to the elevation marker.
Continuing on, we didn’t all descend together, as we all stopped and viewed where we wanted to. I made a couple of stops for photos.
There wasn’t very much traffic on the road, and it was a pleasant time. I pulled off the road at the side of Beartooth Lake. The water was plate-glass smooth, and I caught a nice reflection across the water of the butte beyond. The view was very peaceful, and I had that stretch of the highway to myself, but I couldn’t stay and enjoy it.
The freshly hatched mosquitos and flies wasted no time coming after a bite of me. The only exposed skin was my neck, head and hands. I wasted no time folding the tripod and stowing the camera gear in my top-case. The other thing that was going through my mind on that deserted stretch of highway, with the deep forest abutting the shoulder of the road, was the name of the region I was standing in, and how it got its name. I stepped-up my preparations for departure and was feeling much less anxious after I was astride my bike and zipping down the road.
I caught up with Kurt and Marv several miles down the road, and we coasted to Cooke City where we fueled our bikes and re-entered Yellowstone National Park.
Our plan was to cut across the northern edge of the park. We had to wade through a bit of traffic in a couple of spots where animals were modeling their coats for the mobbing tourists, but it wasn’t too exasperating.
We stopped for a bite to eat at Roosevelt Lodge. The food wasn’t particularly remarkable, but the building and was interesting in its own right.
We exited the park through the north gate at Gardiner after a hectic spin around the Mammoth Hot Springs. On the ride north to Livingston, we monitored a thunder and lightning show to the west that was shadowing us. We knew we’d eventually have to cross paths with it to get to Butte. Arriving in Livingston, we stopped for a break at a fast food joint, and then prepared ourselves for the eventuality of rain. We all felt like we had a full day under our belts and, with rain imminent, we decided to skip the back roads for the remaining 90 minutes of road time, and then got on I-90. The route that had been planned was nothing very remarkable, mainly flat straight roads, so we didn’t miss much. The rain finally did catch up with us and, fortunately, was not very heavy. We got pelted with hail as we crossed east-to-west over the Continental Divide. The most remarkable part of the afternoon was when we rode under an Osprey returning to its nest on a pole beside the freeway with a fish in its talons. We dropped down into Butte about five miles further down the road and checked in at our hotel.
After we cleaned up and decided to go eat, I checked Yelp, and found a restaurant within walking distance of the hotel. It had good reviews, although I can’t understand why. It was okay, in that it was a standard American diner, but I couldn’t find anything about it which stood out as deserving a good review at all. On this trip I was being reminded that I live in an area that is blessed with diverse and high-quality food. We all returned to our hotel for a restful night. Again, we set our alarms for an early departure.